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SOLIHULL (/ˈsɒlɪhʌl/ or /ˈsoʊliːhʌl/ or /soʊliˈhʌl/ ) is a town in the West Midlands of England
England
with a population of 206,700 in the 2011 Census. Historically in Warwickshire , it is a part of the West Midlands conurbation . It is the largest town in, and administrative centre of, the larger Metropolitan Borough of Solihull , which itself has a population of 209,890 .

Solihull
Solihull
is the most affluent town of the West Midlands, and one of the most affluent areas outside London. In November 2013, the uSwitch Quality of Life Index named Solihull
Solihull
the "best place to live" in the United Kingdom. Residents of Solihull
Solihull
and those born in the town are referred to as Silhillians. The motto of Solihull
Solihull
is Urbs in Rure (Town in Country).

CONTENTS

* 1 History

* 1.1 Toponymy * 1.2 Early history * 1.3 20th century

* 2 Governance

* 2.1 Wards

* 3 Education * 4 Transport * 5 Economy

* 6 Communal facilities

* 6.1 Parks and local nature reserves * 6.2 Leisure * 6.3 Events

* 7 Sport * 8 Suburbs * 9 Twin towns * 10 Notable people * 11 References * 12 External links

HISTORY

TOPONYMY

Solihull's name is commonly thought to have derived from the position of its parish church, St Alphege, on a 'soily' hill. The church was built on a hill of stiff red marl , which turned to sticky mud in wet weather.

EARLY HISTORY

The town is noted for its historic architecture, which includes surviving examples of timber framed Tudor style houses and shops. The historic Solihull School dates from 1560 (although not on its present site). The red sandstone parish church of St. Alphege dates from a similar period and is a large and handsome example of English Gothic church architecture , with a traditional spire 168 feet (51 metres) high, making it visible from a great distance. It is located at the head of High Street and is a Grade I listed building . It was founded in about 1220 by Hugh de Oddingsell. A chantry chapel was also founded there by Sir William de Oddingsell in 1277 and the upper chapel in St Alphege was built for a chantry.

20TH CENTURY

St. Alphege\'s Church, Solihull
Solihull

Unlike nearby Birmingham
Birmingham
, the Industrial Revolution
Industrial Revolution
largely passed Solihull
Solihull
by and until the 20th century Solihull
Solihull
remained a small market town . World War II
World War II
also nearly passed Solihull
Solihull
by. Neighbouring Coventry
Coventry
and Birmingham
Birmingham
were severely damaged by repeated German bombing raids but apart from some attacks on what is now the Land Rover
Land Rover
plant , the airport and the local railway lines, Solihull escaped largely intact.

In 1901, the population of the town was just 7,500. This growth was due to a number of factors including a large slum clearance programme in Birmingham, the development of the Rover car plant, the expansion of what was then Elmdon Airport into Birmingham
Birmingham
International Airport and, perhaps most significantly, the release of large tracts of land for housing development attracting inward migration of new residents from across the UK . St. Augustine's Church (Roman Catholic)

Until the early 1960s, the main high street remained much as it would have been in the late 19th century with several streets of Victorian terraced houses linking High Street with Warwick Road. The construction of the central shopping area known as Mell Square (named after W. Maurice Mell, the town clerk who planned the work) involved the demolition of properties in Mill Lane and Drury Lane, some of which were several hundred years old, together with that of the large Victorian Congregational Church that had stood on the corner of Union Street and Warwick Road. On the right along High Street from St Alphege's Church porch is one of the town's oldest landmarks, the George, which dates from the 16th century. It is now called the Ramada Jarvis Hotel.

Arden Golf Club, Solihull, (now defunct) was founded in 1891. The course was still appearing on maps into the 1930s.

GOVERNANCE

Due to its growth, Solihull
Solihull
was promoted from an urban district to a municipal borough , the honour being bestowed by Princess Margaret
Princess Margaret
.

In 1964, Solihull
Solihull
became a county borough and on this occasion the Queen bestowed the honour. In 1974, the Solihull
Solihull
county borough was merged with the rural district surrounding Meriden to form the Metropolitan Borough of Solihull . This also includes the districts known as Shirley , Knowle , Dorridge , Balsall Common
Balsall Common
, Castle Bromwich and Chelmsley Wood .

The member of parliament for the Solihull
Solihull
constituency is Conservative Julian Knight , who won his seat in 2015.

WARDS

There are 17 wards in Solihull; Shirley West, Blythe, Shirley South, Meriden , Elmdon , Lyndon , Smith\'s Wood , Chelmsley Wood , Dorridge & Hockley Heath
Hockley Heath
, Olton , St. Alphege, Shirley East, Silhill, Kingshurst three in Birmingham
Birmingham
and two in Coventry. However, Solihull College , formerly known as the Solihull College of Technology, incorporates a University Centre which offers several foundation degree and full degree courses, particularly in technical subject areas such as computer sciences and engineering. It has not applied to attain university college or university status.

There is also a sixth form college located on the outskirts of the town centre. This is known as the Sixth Form College, Solihull
Solihull
. Solihull School is an independent school and is located on Warwick Road near the centre of the town. It was founded in 1560 and celebrated its 450th anniversary in 2010.

Solihull
Solihull
had a 'Wave 1' proposal of the Building Schools for the Future investment programme approved. They were awarded over £80 million to transform six schools in the north of the borough in December 2004. As a result of the funding, there will be six new schools constructed within seven years. The school curriculum will be redesigned as well as a further £6 million investment in managed ICT services. The six schools to be rebuilt are Park
Park
Hall, Smith's Wood, Archbishop Grimshaw , Lanchester Special
Special
School and Forest Oak and Merstone special schools. Forest Oak and Merstone have been already rebuilt on one site. Lanchester, Park
Park
Hall and Smith's Wood have been built by BAM PPP, under ' Private Finance Initiative '. Archbishop Grimshaw has been built by BAM PPP under a traditional contract.

TRANSPORT

The Manor House, Solihull
Solihull
Solihull railway station
Solihull railway station

A number of main roads pass through Solihull
Solihull
including the A41 Birmingham
Birmingham
to Warwick road and the A34 Birmingham
Birmingham
to Stratford road. The M42 and the M40 both pass through Solihull
Solihull
and provide very rapid links to Oxford
Oxford
and London
London
and to the rest of the motorway network surrounding the West Midlands . Birmingham
Birmingham
Airport is located in Solihull.

Solihull railway station
Solihull railway station
is on the former Great Western Railway line from Birmingham
Birmingham
Snow Hill station to London
London
Paddington although trains now run along the Chiltern Main Line terminating at London
London
Marylebone . Solihull railway station
Solihull railway station
was first built on a very grand scale, with 2 island platforms complete with nearly full length canopies, and a large goods yard, boasting space for some 200+ waggons; the yard was equipped with a loading dock, goods shed and large crane. Solihull
Solihull
was also rare in being only one of a handful of stations in the area to have a goods relief line.

Other railway links are provided on the West Coast Main Line , as Birmingham
Birmingham
International railway station lies within the borough's boundaries and offers frequent express connections to London. Express train services through Solihull
Solihull
are now run by Chiltern Railways and local services by London
London
Midland .

The Grand Union Canal
Grand Union Canal
passes across Solihull, coming within 1 mi (1.6 km) of the town centre and linking the town to the River Thames
River Thames
in London
London
.

Local bus services are provided largely by National Express West Midlands from their Yardley Wood and Acocks Green depots in south and southeast Birmingham
Birmingham
respectively.

ECONOMY

Solihull
Solihull
offers a variety of shopping facilities. It has an open-air 1960s-style shopping centre called Mell Square which was constructed following the demolition of several terraces of Victorian houses and the original Solihull
Solihull
Congregational Church . In recent years, the town has undergone much development, and High Street has been pedestrianised since 1994. On 2 July 2002, a large new shopping centre, Touchwood , was opened by the Queen .

Solihull
Solihull
is the home of the four-wheel-drive car manufacturer Land Rover 's main production plant (situated east of the Lode Heath district) and a range of other major companies. The village of Meriden was the famous home of the Triumph motorbike factory from 1942-1983. The former home of retail bakers Three Cooks , after it was brought out of administration in 2006, the new company Cooks the Bakery retains its HQ in Solihull. Other major companies headquartered in Solihull
Solihull
include pub company Enterprise Inns and mortgage and personal loan provider Paragon .

The National Exhibition Centre is within the borough of Solihull, as is almost all of Birmingham
Birmingham
Airport and the ever-expanding Birmingham Business Park
Park
.

COMMUNAL FACILITIES

PARKS AND LOCAL NATURE RESERVES

The Lake, Brueton Park
Park
, Solihull.

Solihull
Solihull
has a number of parks and local nature reserves , including for:

* Alcott Wood in Moorend Avenue, Chelmsley Wood; 5.7 hectares (14 acres) of semi natural ancient woodland, designated in 2002. * Babbs Mill in Fordbridge Road, Kingshurst; 24 hectares (59 acres) of mixed grassland, lake and woodland habitats, designated in 2000. * Bills Wood , in Bill's Lane, Shirley; 7 hectares (17 acres) of semi natural ancient woodland, designated in 1991. * Dorridge Wood , in Arden Road, Dorridge; 7.5 hectares (19 acres) of semi natural woodland, designated in 2000. * Elmdon Park
Park
, at Elmdon Manor, Solihull; 4.6 hectares (11 acres) of former walled garden, managed by Warwickshire Wildlife Trust , designated in 1995. * Jobs Close in Longdon Road, Knowle; 3.5 hectares (8.6 acres) of grassland and woodland with pond, designated in 2004. * Palmers Rough , in Jacey Road, Shirley; 6.5 hectares (16 acres) of semi natural woodland, designated in 2000. * Malvern 30 hectares (74 acres) of mixed grassland, woodland and marsh, designated in 2002. * Millisons Wood , in Albert Road, Meriden; 11 hectares (27 acres) of semi natural ancient woodland, designated in 1993. * Smiths Wood in Windward Way, Smiths Wood; 4.5 hectares (11 acres) of semi natural ancient woodland, designated in 2004. * Yorks Wood , in Fordbridge Road, Kingshurst; 10 hectares (25 acres) of semi natural ancient woodland, designated in 1991.

Other parks include Tudor Grange Park
Park
, Elmdon Park, Hillfield Park
Park
, Cole Bank Park, Knowle Park
Park
and Shirley Park
Park
. The nearest parks to the town centre are Malvern and Brueton Parks. They are interlinked and cover a total area of about 130 acres (0.53 km2). Brueton Park used to be part of the grounds of Malvern Hall, which dates back to about 1690. It is home now to St Martin's Independent School for Girls.

The River Blythe , a headwater tributary of the River Trent , passes through parts of Solihull
Solihull
including Malvern and Tudor Grange Parks.

LEISURE

Solihull
Solihull
has numerous leisure facilities including a public swimming pool on the edge of Tudor Grange Park. This pool replaced the old Tudor Grange Sports Centre, which was demolished in 2007, to make way for the brand new leisure centre (A combination of the old Norman Green Athletics Centre and Tudor Grange Sports Centre). This in turn had replaced the outdoor swimming pool - Malvern Park
Park
Lido - that had served Solihull
Solihull
from 1954 till its closure in 1982. At present there are two sports centres, the more modern Tudor Grange Sports Centre, and the older North Solihull
Solihull
Sports Centre. There is also an outdoor wooden skateboarding and in-line skating facility in Tudor Grange Park. Sailing takes place on Olton Reservoir .

The borough is well served by numerous youth groups, both from the statutory and voluntary sector. There are several Scout groups including Knowle Sea Scout Group which is based in the south of Solihull
Solihull
and is sponsored by the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
providing a wide programme of activities for young people from all over Solihull
Solihull
aged from 6 to 18. The recently refurbished ice rink on Hobs Moat Road is home to Solihull's ice hockey teams, the Solihull Barons , Solihull
Solihull
Vikings, a junior ice hockey team, the Mohawks ice racing club, as well as ice dance and figure skating clubs. Above the ice rink is a Riley's snooker club.

EVENTS

Every year since the early 1930s (apart from gaps during world wars), Solihull
Solihull
Carnival has taken place. This is now fixed to the first weekend after the June half-term and takes place in Tudor Grange Park , organised by Shirley Round Table. The event raises about £10,000 for charitable causes each year.

Tudor Grange Park
Park
is also the venue for the annual free firework display held on the Saturday closest to 5 November, organised by Solihull
Solihull
Round Table. The event attracts about 15,000 people to the park.

SPORT

The largest football club in the town is Solihull
Solihull
Moors , who play at Damson Park, 2 miles (3.2 km) from the town centre. The club was established in 2007 following the merger of Solihull
Solihull
Borough and Moor Green and currently play in the National League after being promoted from the National League North at the end of the 2015-16 season.

The other sports club of note is Birmingham
Birmingham
& Solihull
Solihull
R.F.C. , known as "the Bees", a professional rugby union team which competes in National League 3 . The club played at Sharmans Cross Road until August 2010, and following a brief spell at Solihull
Solihull
Moors' Damson Park
Park
ground the club now play at Portway.

Solihull
Solihull
also has a number of field hockey clubs, namely Old Silhillians Hockey Club (the home of Warwickshire Hockey), Olton -webkit-column-width: 30em; column-width: 30em; list-style-type: decimal;">

* ^ "Local Authority population 2011". Retrieved 15 December 2015. * ^ "Check Browser Settings". Neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk. Retrieved 14 August 2014. * ^ http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/local-news/solihull-streets-ahead-regions-property-6449946. Retrieved 7 July 2017. Missing or empty title= (help ) * ^ "uSwitch News: Solihull
Solihull
‘best place to live’ in UK Quality of Life Index". Uswitch.com. Retrieved 14 August 2014. * ^ Heather Saul (14 November 2013). "Ten best places to live in the UK: Solihull
Solihull
comes top". The Independent. London. Retrieved 14 August 2014. * ^ Archived 8 July 2014 at the Wayback Machine
Wayback Machine
. * ^ Historic England
England
. "Details from image database (218304)". Images of England
England
. Retrieved 19 September 2007. * ^ "Arden Golf Club, Solihull, Wawickshire". Golfsmissinglinks.co.uk. Retrieved 14 August 2014. * ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20130222072426/http://www.solihull.gov.uk/localhistory/16436.htm. Archived from the original on 22 February 2013. Retrieved 6 March 2013. Missing or empty title= (help ) * ^ A B * ^ Archived 19 January 2008 at the Wayback Machine
Wayback Machine
. * ^ Archived 26 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
Wayback Machine
. * ^ A B C D E F G H I J K " Solihull
Solihull
Council Local Nature Reserves". Archived from the original on 30 June 2011. Retrieved 4 April 2011. * ^ Archived 20 July 2013 at the Wayback Machine
Wayback Machine
. * ^ "Get ready for Solihull\'s Bonfire Night in Tudor Grange Park". Solihull
Solihull
News. 3 November 2011. Retrieved 4 November 2012. * ^ "Club History". Solihull
Solihull
Cycling Club. Retrieved 24 September 2016. * ^ Whiting David (2009). Modern British Potters and their studios. A&C Black. * ^ " Solihull
Solihull
Arts Complex". solihullartscomplex.co.uk. * ^ "The Official Roger Whittaker Website". Rogerwhittaker.com. Retrieved 14 August 2014.

EXTERNAL LINKS